I hope your week has been wonderful! It was pointed out to me that you have been out six months, as of Friday! Wow, in that regards, having 1/4 of your mission done has gone by fairly quickly, although there are definitely really slow moments, as I'm sure there have been for you.
Your letter last week was a little letter, a little too small, a small smattering of your life when we're looking for a large letter, a large contingency of letters linking your life in a big letter! ;-) We are definitely looking forward to more pictures. That a picture is worth 1000 words is true in regards to wanting to see your son's smiling face more frequently! And to say you left us hanging last week is an understatement. Having to wait three plus weeks for the conclusion of a cliff hanger is not nice ;-)
Your CTM companion wrote in his letter last week that he knew you had been transferred, and missed seeing you in person by 5 minutes! He also said that he got to speak with you on the phone. He's so happy to have you near Bauru! How fun for you! Is that who you stayed with last week traveling to get your companion's BBQ? _____
From your trainer, last week's letter said, "Our mission baptized 53 people! That's the most this mission has ever baptized in a week! President is super excited! For the year of 2012 our mission baptized 11th in Brazil of 27 missions. Our mission is in the south and all the missions that baptize the most are from the north. Before President T. got here, our mission was 24th and 25th out of 27 missions. Big improvement! He preaches repentance to us like it's nobody's business...There were 14 American missionaries that were supposed to come to our mission this next week but only one got his visa. They are going to send all the American elders from our mission to serve in the Los Angeles mission until they get their visas. But, the government hasn't even let them start their visas yet so they won't be here for another 6 months." Mothers on the missionary mom email server said their sons have all gone to Iowa except one, who was sent to Houston.
Your Facebook friends going on missions is probably a good indication of the swell the church is experiencing. Holy cow! Here are about ten, just from this week alone! One to the Boston Massachusetts mission, another to Oslo, Norway. One to Trujillo, Peru, one to the Bolivia Santa Cruz Mission, another to Spain and one to Brazil Manaus. Sarah A. left Wednesday. Her mother said, "She is in the Peru MTC right now for six weeks. We received an email from her telling us she made it safely there. She said it is so hot she thinks she will be wearing her hair up for the next 18 months!"
Jeremy's mission is increasing from 200 missionaries to 285. What an amazing time to have a missionary out - history in the making! Exciting changes!
One missionary in your mission wrote about his favorite snack, fresh french bread from the Brazilian bakeries, with bologna. Have you had this yet? _____ Are you tired of me asking if our package got there? _____ Hopefully this week Janel's came! _____ And, your letter count? _____
I know you'll be excited to know Ranger had his yearly check-up and is back in stud form. He's up over 80 pounds, his coat shines, his tail wags, and he has no bald spots, no itching, no stink. We're all surprised. Hopefully his immune system has benefited from the dog food that's mailed to our house, and he'll be around for years to come. I'm counting this as one of the many blessings your service provides to our family!
Monday for family home evening we wrote thank you cards to the Lewis family for their fun birthday party at the painting place. The boys got their ceramics this week, and have really enjoyed their projects. Miller said the opening prayer, and whenever he prays, asks Heavenly Father that you'll have a good night's sleep. So, if you're sleeping better some nights than others, know that Miller is concerned about you sleeping well.
(My Bear Den)
(Cooper's Den Chief, for scout leadership requirements)
Wednesday Dad had two men come to scouts with him and demonstrate fly fishing techniques. Another great week! The boys loved some of the new knots, but not until Dad showed them more useful applications than fishing: Such as making rappelling lines for their G.I. Joe's. There were ropes hooked from the front door entrance to the game room, all the way across the ping pong table, with little men sliding down. A definite must know!
Sawyer, Breyer and I went to a basketball game at the C.K. Wonder Dome. Do you remember the story of the Waterloo Wonders? They played their games at the Wonder Dome. From the vaults of Sports Illustrated, it says in the mid-thirties, "five unprepossessing young men came out of the Ohio hill country to win back-to-back Class B (small school) state championships. There wasn't a lot to do in Waterloo except farm, hunt and play basketball. It took fewer kids to get up a basketball game than it did to play baseball or football, and if you didn't have the right equipment, you could improvise. You'd play with a homemade ball. Take an old sock; fill it full of rags, shirtsleeves, whatever you could tear up and put in there; tie strings around it; and that was your ball. They gouged a primitive court with a horse-drawn grader. And when rain or nightfall interfered with their outdoor games, the Waterloo lads retired to a barn loft and played by firelight. By their mid-teens, when they got the chance to play basketball in a real gym with real equipment, the five principal Waterloo players were more than ready. What the boys' team lacked in depth and size it made up for in talent. When Waterloo was on offense, the ball seldom touched the floor. Having been weaned on rag balls that couldn't be dribbled, the starting five were accustomed to passing and passing until the ideal shot presented itself. By the 10th game or so of the '33-34 season, it was apparent that something special was happening in southeastern Ohio. After the Wonders capped that furious 1934-35 season with a second state championship, college coaches were salivating. Dozens of schools offered scholarships, some in recruiting the whole Waterloo team. Yet of the five starters, only one went to college and played a little ball. The four other starters eventually turned pro and barnstormed as the Waterloo Wonders, playing such celebrated teams as the Globetrotters. World War II closed out the Wonders' basketball careers."
Now why am I sharing such a Hoosiers type story? In honor of Uncle Rich, whose birthday is today. He who eats, drinks and sleeps basketball. And, because I sat on those same bleachers that were then filled to the brim. In the 1930's. It's the kind of place where you can still imagine those kinds of games being played, and where the stands feel like they're over eighty years old! I honestly was afraid I'd fall through in some places, the wood being very worn and thin. And the roof was leaking. Buckets were carefully placed in spots throughout the gym, including the corners of the playing court, to catch the water. It's the kind of gym where modern safety requirements haven't been introduced, so Breyer could just walk off the end of the bench, and fall fifteen feet. No edging or rails or barrier. An adventure all the way there and back. Sawyer's team lost. Basketball players coached in the Wonder Dome develop and play a different kind of game, and Sawyer's team found out the hard way.
Saturday the boys were to have gone to the temple with Dad, but with more snow on the way the trip was cancelled. And with Sawyer's team out early, our day opened up very quickly! The boys played for a long time out in the snow, building ice forts and having a massive snow ball fight. Ranger was outside as well, and provided the sled power, pulling sheets of ice they'd pull off the frozen water puddles out in the field, to where their forts were being built.
Sunday was tenuous as to whether or not church would be held. Now that we're on the 9 a.m. schedule, we're responsible for shoveling out the church. Dad took Hunter this morning to help shovel, and told us to stay home, as the van does not do very well on slick roads. When he drove over the bridge into WV, the roads were much better. Too bad Ohio doesn't provide any road treatments. We've already received the automated phone message letting us know we're on a two hour delay for school tomorrow, so we had to cancel seminary.
Speaking of seminary, this week we were talking about gifts of the spirit. We came up with a good list. It was fun to review them, and think about what gift we each have been blessed with. The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians: “Now we have received … the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. … But the natural man … can[not] know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:12, 14). Have you thought about the gifts you're able to cultivate while you're on your mission? "Even so, seek spiritual gifts to the edifying of the church (1 Cor. 14:12)." That was my "Tanner" thought while I was preparing for seminary this week. Something always seems to jump out at me that I should share with you.
In closing, there was an interesting article from the Church in regards to a new MTC in Mexico I thought you'd enjoy reading, as well as an article from BYU that describes a three-phase construction series to reduce accidents involving autos and pedestrians. We love you so much! We're grateful for your sacrifice, service, and love.
Mom and Dad